Influencer: The One Conference You Want to Attend (It Just Takes a Click)

June 13, 2013

conference

It would be hard to count the number of people who have been influenced by Bill Gates: early employees of Microsoft; Gates Foundation grantees across the world; nonprofit innovators. But when Gates needs guidance, where does he turn?

That’s the question he answers today in his inaugural post on LinkedIn Influencer, our platform that allows 250+ top people in the professional world to share their insights with 225 million LinkedIn members around the world.

Every week we’ve been adding powerful names to Influencer. Others starting today include CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo, Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison, and Troy Carter, Lady Gaga’s manager. In addition, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon posts his second piece today.

But before you read their posts — and you should — I wanted to share not only what they’re writing, but why they're writing here.

We launched Influencer last October with a simple premise: Professionals, no matter how deep into their career, have an insatiable appetite for information that will help them improve. And they want to hear from people who have been in the trenches themselves. If you want to be Richard Branson, after all, the best person to learn from is Richard Branson.

One sign of this demand is the explosion of conferences in the past decade. People take time out of their busy lives to sit shoulder-to-shoulder listening as speakers and panelists share ideas and lessons. Those ideas spread from there, travelling home with the attendees, working their way around offices, seeding new ideas, new products, new processes and speeding learning curves. Everyone benefits.

We want to recreate that experience. Some of the people who have started regularly sharing big ideas in the last few months include New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, GE CEO Jeff Immelt, Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson, HP CEO Meg Whitman, along with a slew of top venture capitalists, nonprofit leaders, academics and c-suite executives. Find the full list at www.linkedin.com/today/influencers.

They come for the simple reason that they love the audience. LinkedIn members take in the content and share right back, layering on their professional takes. As Suzy Welch, the writing partner and wife of legendary GE CEO Jack Welch put it, the readers just get it:

“Jack and I have written for many forums, and we've read our share of comments, and without a doubt, the LinkedIn community is unique.

We definitely feel as if we're part of a conversation with thoughtful and energized managers and professionals. They care about ideas, about their teams, and about getting things done."

Of course, the other great part of any good conference (maybe the best part?) is the hallway conversations. That same dynamic plays out in the comments section.

Behind the scenes, there’s an amazing team keeping this humming: engineers, product managers, and designers. A team of editors who cut their teeth at the AP, Reuters, Wired, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Le Figaro and more help Influencers craft posts and plan and maintain coverage.

And, in the end, the team is doing it to make sure the audience is served. The best measure of success: watching ideas leave the keyboard of one Influencer and show up in the actions of a professional far away.

Don't forget to catch up on what Gates, Bartiromo, Morrison, Carter and Dimon are saying today. Your competition certainly will be...

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• To find Influencers to follow: www.linkedin.com/today/influencers

• To see the top Influencer posts of the week, visit www.linkedin.com/today/posts and subscribe to the feed on Pulse.

Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images

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